Skip main navigation

£199.99 £139.99 for one year of Unlimited learning. Offer ends on 28 February 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply

Find out more

What drives urbanization?

In this video, Shuaib Lwasa further explains the dynamics behind the concept of urbanization by introducing you to key drivers of urbanization.
SHUIAB LWASA: Maybe you live in a large city or a large urban area. More and more people on our planet are living in urban areas. Urbanisation is the process of concentration of population in urban areas. It is an integral part of the history of our civilization. So it has been going on for decades. Current projections suggest that by 2050, more than six billion people will live in urban areas. So this will be almost 70% of the total world population. The first wave of urbanisation happened at the start of the Industrial Revolution in around 1760s. The drivers of this urbanisation were largely people coming into urban centres to engage in manufacturing as a pull factor.
Agriculture in rural areas was a push factor because it had limited benefits. The attraction to urban areas was related to wage differences between manufacturing and agriculture. The second wave of urbanisation has been described as urbanisation in the developing countries where population increase in urban areas did not match the growth of industrial activity. The third wave of urbanisation is described as the current increase in urban population driven by technology, coupled with administrative and legal processes in developing countries. For example, in many African countries, urban areas have been created to serve as administrative headquarters of newly created provinces or districts. Urban areas come in different sizes and forms.
For example, Paris is comparatively small in population size with around 2 million people but with a high density of 20,000 people per square kilometre. In Nigeria, the city of Ibadan has over three million people but a low density of about 1,000 people per square kilometre. Ibadan has grown outward to a large area, while Paris is concentrated on a smaller area. These two examples show that cities have different special forms and sizes. Urban areas are developing in two main ways. First, it can be a multiplication of points of concentration, so more cities are built. And the second way through which urbanisation occurs is the growth within points of concentration, cities becoming bigger.
For example, in countries such as Nigeria, they are less than 50 urban areas in 1990 compared to 82 to urban areas in 2006, an illustration of multiplication of growth points. urbanisation has grown at an average annual rate of 3% in this country. On the other hand, China has experienced one of the fastest urbanisation processes due to growth in industries, which has led to rural to urban migration. The urban population was only 13% in 1950 and grew to 45% in 2010 as a proportion of the national population. Urban areas have grown to become complex areas in terms of size, concentration of activities.
Current urbanisation is also characterised by coastal regions becoming dense and extending over large areas to create urban corridors along some coasts. In conclusion, we have learned the process of urbanisation and the drivers of urbanisation. These are pull and push factors on one hand and administrative and legal processes on the other hand. urbanisation has been happening for centuries, but in current times is faster in regions of Africa and South Asia.

In this video, Shuaib Lwasa further explains the dynamics behind the concept of urbanization by introducing you to key drivers of urbanization and the direction in which they are taking our planet. He distinguishes between different phases of urbanization, as well as ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors that act as dominant driving forces.

Try to think of climate-related push and pull factors or drivers in addition to the ones mentioned by Shuaib. Which can you think of? Please share in the discussion section and have a look at what other learners thought as well.

This article is from the free online

Sustainable Cities: Governing Urban Adaptation Under Climate Change

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education